“Southland” actor Anthony Ruivivar made his first trip to the world famous floating CBR Tiki Lounge at the 2013 Comic-Con International in San Diego to tell CBR’s Jonah Weiland about his journey from stereotyped actor to Bruce Wayne — and Batman — in Cartoon Network’s “Beware the Batman” animated series. Ruivivar talks about being the first non-white actor to play the role, his son’s reaction to dad becoming Batman, how he crafted his approach to the character — and why he thinks there are actually two different Bruce Wayne’s in addition to his vigilante alter ego as Batman. He also discusses the challenges of voice acting versus being on set, growing up with super hero cartoons and how he gets sucked in when watching them with his kids.
On voice acting allowing Ruivivar to play roles without ethnicity coming into play: I don’t think it should matter acting-wise either, whether it’s voice over or not, and that’s something that I’m getting to as my career grows. When I first started in the industry it’s like all the stuff that I was going out on was, “I’ll just take what’s behind the register and a pack of Marlboro Ultralights.” And now ethnicity stops becoming such an issue. The characters that I play on screen don’t have to always be justified as ethnic. So I think that’s really amazing. The coolest thing about the voice over is that absolutely doesn’t matter. And that’s always been the case.
On his approach to voicing two Bruce Waynes and Batman: I don’t get the raspy nature of it. I know that there’s a kind of tonality to his voice that it’s intimidating, but I kind of approached it having kind of three different takes on Batman. There’s Batman, there’s Bruce Wayne — public Bruce Wayne and there’s private Bruce Wayne. So there’s the Bruce Wayne that’s kind of when he’s dealing with Alfred he’s much more honest with himself, he’s much more kind of in tune, a bit more brooding. Then there’s the public Bruce Wayne who’s more — I took it like he’s more of a playboy. It’s a show for everybody. So instead of kind of being nervous or whatever, it’s like a show, and he’s almost like an a-hole. Not really, but he’s — it’s a cover. And then Batman, as a detective. As somebody who’s there to kind of deduce, who has an incredible mind. I was thinking less about what is a “Batman voice” and more about the human being that kind of tries to detect and tries to figure these cases out — and has a lightning sharp mind.
On the differences between voice acting and being on set: It’s a totally different muscle, and it’s incredibly difficult. It’s not easy. You’re making decisions lightning quick. The way that we shoot, the way that we do Batman, is we do it in the round, so you’re there with all the other actors. It’s easier so you can play off of each other, but there’s still rules to follow like not jumping on each other and whatnot, adjusting levels. You have the rehearsal and then you have to make your choices really quickly and you have to execute pretty fast as well. That whole process — each line is numbered, it’s very technical, so the skill sets that you need to bring to it are, you know, they really bring your training into play.